I forgot to do this on my last article because I was so excited to dive into the movie. But I'm back to our regularly scheduled programming which is talking about the movie trailers I see before the film (when seeing said film in a theater of course). So let's jump in!
Movie previews I am over the moon excited for:
Movie previews I can't quite tell if I'm excited for:
Anywho, let's dive into the triumphant return of Sam Raimi to the superhero genre after a hiatus from the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man films!
Spoilers aplenty so here's my trademark kitten to prevent any unwanted accidental scrolling and ruining your day.
So stinkin cute!!
Alrighty then, so Sam Raimi's Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness! Let's talk about it.
Our story starts a few months after the events in Spider-Man: No Way Home, which becomes the first ever MCU film to have 0 implications in the next MCU film starring a character in the previous film, how independent! Moving on, we see our beloved (not so much) Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) attending the wedding of his former flame Christine (Rachel McAdams) which is promptly interrupted by a giant squid monster. The monster is seen chasing a new entrant into the MCU, the multiverse traversing America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), as it seeks to steal her powers. Soon after the encounter our intrepid heroes find out that Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) is behind the attack which fuels the story and the film throughout its rather succinct feeling 2 hour and 6 minute runtime.
Seeing an MCU powered multiverse film after seeing the wildly innovative and unique Everything Everywhere All at Once is a bold move on my part, but I still really enjoyed it! There's no real comparison between the two but I was quite satisfied with the approach taken to the multiverse, and its various Doctor Strange's. It felt rather fresh, just with the main differences you see in the universes, but also the idea of dream walking and America Chavez' powers also felt quite new.
Outside of that feeling the big positive on this film is undoubtedly the vision of Sam Raimi. This is by far the most stylistic entry in the current MCU film franchise. Rumors are out that Raimi had total creative control and I can totally buy it given the on screen product. With Raimi's directorial and producing roots embedded in the horror genre there's no wasted moment of horror in the film. Wanda's omnipotence is the perfect vessel for some scary sets, and Raimi spares no expense.
The big stand out moment (really a collection of many moments) is the showdown in the Illuminati's universe. Seeing a collective group of heroes consist of Mr. Fantastic (John Krasinski), Captain Carter (Haley Atwell), Professor X (Patrick Stewart), Black Bolt (Anson Mount) and Captain Marvel (Lashana Lynch) succumb so quickly and violently to the hands of a possessed Wanda is pure fun carnage. There's some fantastic callouts to the Stephen King classic Carrie as well with the visuals and the dream sequence of Professor X and Wanda is amazing! Raimi's fingerprints are all over the film, in visuals, transitions, timing, and of course the incredible cameo of Bruce Campbell! Going all out is in Raimi's bag of tricks and he went full Drag Me to Hell brutal in a lot of these scenes.
However with great power comes great responsibility, and the responsibility of having a good script with any character development was unfortunately cast aside.
One of my favorite MCU members who is now Sorceror Supreme Wong (Benedict Wong) has become a tragic punchline in these films. Only having a handful of lines they either fall under the category of "joke/buildup for joke", or the classic "I'll never tell you, ok wait I'll tell you," Wong has been relegated to the same shadow realm as Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) in the Tom Holland Spider-Man films. Another quick hitting bad piece of development is how America Chavez controls her powers, or doesn't for that matter. A big plot point is how she doesn't know how to control her powers and that causes plenty of internal turmoil for America but then in the end what gets her to control it is a zombie Doctor Strange telling her that she's been low-key controlling her powers since the beginning duh. It's a weird misstep and definitely messes with the flow of the otherwise fantastic character of America Chavez.
Outside of those two I thought Doctor Strange's romantic arch, and backbone of the film, was rather weak. The entire scaffolding of the conflict in the film is built upon the precipice of using America's powers to travel to a universe in which you're with the ones you love. Wanda is attempting to do that with her children and Strange is tempted throughout the film to do it to be with Christine. However there's never really any turmoil in Stange's thought process in regards to it, you never think it'll actually happen which I guess is good? But the lack of internal character conflict and reconciling his choices results in a bland Strange for most of the film. Not to mention his final confession to the alternate Christine feels pretty out of place when there's minimal buildup on their relationship. But when you also sprinkle in the idea of not using the Darkhold because it can consume the user, but Strange is out here saying he's not like the other Strange's then uses the Darkhold and immediately becomes like the others in the finale. It was really cool to see and had that Sam Raimi flare but in terms of character development it felt like a waste of 2 hours watching Strange battle with literal demons and poorly written internal ones.
Overall it was a daring and unique entry in the MCU with the classic psychedelic imagery of Doctor Strange in a wonderful matrimony with Sam Raimi's distinctive style and panache for horror. However a weak script rife with rambling dialogue and wasted character development prevents the film from reaching anything more than visual spectacle.
I'm not sure if this is a repeat brew to be honest, if it is I'm terribly sorry. But when you're watching your 84th Marvel movie that are all the same thing well then I get to drink the same beer! Much like the Marvel films I was looking for something well established, easy to drink, and requires minimal brain power to enjoy. That's what led me to the Georgetown Brewing staple Bodhizafa, a fantastic and classic IPA.
It's light and smooth whilst packed with a blanketing mandarin aroma and taste. Its award winning, its got oats in the recipe, its just a good beer.
Bodhizafa IPA - American | 6.9% ABV Georgetown Brewing @georgetownbrewingco